I am not sure why, but I have been so amazed at the bright, colorful, beautiful flowers in India. Here are some that my friends and I saw on our recent trip…
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We have all read about the evil that men can do and, thankfully, most of us just marvel at how a heart can be so black and empty and hard.
In Amritsar, where the Golden Temple is, there is a park. And in that park there was a massacre.
Of course, there was a lot that happened leading up to the massacre – World War I had recently ended. India had sacrificed much in support of Britain during the war (including human and financial resources) and was hoping for more responsibility for its own affairs with the ultimate goal being independence. Ghandi was emerging as a political leader and the country was in civil unrest – especially in Punjab (where Amritsar is located).
In an attempt to maintain stability and based on recommendations set forth by the Sedition Committee, the Rowlatt Act was enforced. This act empowered “the Viceroy’s government with extraordinary powers to quell sedition by silencing the press, including detaining the political activists without trial, arrest without warrant of any individuals suspected of sedition or treason, as well as trial before special tribunals. The passage sparked massive outrage within India.” (thanks Wiki)
The long story, short is that on April 10, 1919, many protesters gathered in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s house in Amritsar. They were demanding the release of two famous leaders of the Indian Independence Movement – Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. The crowd was fired on and several protesters were killed. As you can imagine, this set off a chain of violent events to the point that the British rulers imposed martial law and outlawed any gatherings of more than 4 people.
Just a few days later on April 13, thousands of people gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh (a garden park in Amritsar). Just one hour after the meeting began, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer marched a group of soldiers into the park and ordered them to fire upon the crowd without warning. They only stopped when the bullets ran out. He had also planned to take in machine guns mounted on vehicles but could not get them into the park because of the narrow gates at the park’s entrances.
Dyer later commented that he knew about the gathering and made no attempts to block it or even to disperse the crowds once the meeting began. He planned fully to open fire on the crowd of people and ordered the soldiers to aim for the densest areas of people. He was later quoted as saying, “I think it quite possible that I could have dispersed the crowd without firing but they would have come back again and laughed, and I would have made, what I consider, a fool of myself.”
The estimates of the number of people killed or injured vary widely depending on who you ask – British sources estimate that nearly 400 people were killed – Indian sources put that number much closer to 1,000. Of course, all of the deaths were not a result of gunfire, there were also stampedes as people tried to escape. At any rate, it is hard to understand why things like this happen. How a man can look in to a crowd of men, women, and children and shout “fire” is just beyond me.
Dyer was revered by some and hated by others. I guess it is all a matter of perspective and probably depends mostly on what side of the gun you were on. But it is really very hard to understand how Dyer could close his eyes and sleep at night.
The events in Amritsar are said to have paved the way for Ghandi’s Non-Cooperation Movement.
This is the spot where the soldiers entered and opened fire. They would have been standing on this side of the fountain and shooting toward the people walking in the picture.
This is a wall that still houses holes where bullets landed.
This is the actual monument in memory of those who lost their lives.
This is the eternal flame that burns in memory of the horrific events of that day.
Flower’s birthday was last week and so, of course, she got chicken pox. We had to postpone the party and she was so sad because she had a really fun time planned for her friends. I joked that we had a whole week to make it better and make it unforgettable. Well, unforgettable it was. We hired a camel and an elephant and a guy to fill up 1,300 water balloons. Unforgettable indeed.
Just in case you are wondering – 1,300 water balloons last for about 2 and a half minutes in a full-on water balloon fight. But those knuckleheads didn’t miss a beat – they started a mud fight when the water balloons ran out. Yes, there are some parents who probably aren’t exactly happy, happy with me.
Just another chapter in this crazy, crazy adventure.
My friends arrived safely Wednesday morning and on Wednesday night I put them on an overnight train to Amritsar. And they still love me. tee hee.
We went to see the Golden Temple – the highest Sikh temple in the world. I have so much to tell you about it all – amazing – but in a little bit we are heading out on another adventure so I don’t have much time to write – but I will be back soon enough.
I will be taking a quick little hiatus because two of my dear friends from the U.S. are here to visit. I’ll miss you and I’ll be back soon.
This is part two of my “catching up on shopping” experience. I thought shoulder pads were bad enough – and they are, aren’t they – but apparently that’s not as bad as it gets. Sit down and prepare yourself.
Jumpsuits are back. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Yes, full-on jumpsuits – think Chrissy Snow in Three’s Company. It’s bad out there people. Take reinforcements with you when you shop so that you don’t end up as a fashion don’t. Jumpsuits were so wrong the first time around, I am not sure why we need to revisit them.
I have been catching up on shopping while we have been home and I am just wondering – WHY? Why are shoulder pads making a come back? Really, is this necessary? WHY WHY WHY?????
The next few weeks are going to be crazy around here. We have some travel plans and some holiday plans and some sleeping in plans. So I might not be writing too often. I wish you all the best of holidays – Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy New Years, and best wishes for everything in between.
I hope your family is healthy, your travels are safe, your pockets and bellies are full, and that you find a way to make someone’s life better this season.
We just got home from a few days in Singapore. This week, I will share with you all that we did. It is an amazing city/country with a ton of fun stuff for families. I did not realize that Singapore was founded in 1819 – it’s younger than the U.S. And it is a fantabulous place to vacation! They even have 7-11’s and Burger King. What’s not to love. 😉